November 11, 2022

REVIEW Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + Hardcover (Personal Library)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 

Rachel Griffin writes beautiful, atmospheric witchy novels that make you want to lose yourself in nature or curl up under a blanket with a warm drink while you read. Her debut novel The Nature of Witches was enchanting, and her sophomore novel Wild is the Witch created a similar effect. 

Iris Gray is a witch, a supernatural human of sorts with the ability to recognize energy in the universe and harness it to create outcomes. She loves working with her mom at their wildlife rescue since their magic works best on animals as Lunars, but she cannot stand fellow employee and college intern Pike Alder. As a way to vent her frustrations, she writes a curse intended for Pike (with the goal of destroying it immediately after). However, disaster looms when an owl steals it and takes off into the forest. Given that owls are natural amplifiers for magic, Iris is forced to rely on Pike for help in finding the owl before it’s too late and the curse’s destructive power is unleashed upon the Pacific Northwest. 

The magic in Wild is the Witch is very subtle. Working in harmony with nature, it allows the witches to do multiple more minor feats of ‘spellwork’. I loved getting to learn about the different classes of witches, and how they use their magic to interact with the world. For example, when an injured animal is brought to the rescue, Iris’ mother is able to get the initial healing process started and get the animal out of the danger zone, but they have to allow nature to do the rest to get the animal back to 100%. Some witches who specialize in magic relating to humans are able to view memories, or even remove a witch’s power. However, despite this, there are only a few large-scale flashy supernatural displays in the story given that this leans more towards the contemporary genre than fantasy. 

Iris and Pike’s relationship is a “loathe to love” and forced proximity romance. They start off hating each other, forming a reluctant truce to hunt down the owl. While on their trek through the forest, they have lots of time to get to know each other and slowly realize the other person isn’t as bad as they thought. Of course, the fact that there’s only one tent doesn’t help matters when the tension between them starts to reach a boiling point. 

My only complaint about Wild is the Witch was the short length - it’s uncommon for a young adult book to be less than 300 pages nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, Rachel Griffin made every page count - I just wanted more time and more pages to enjoy Iris and Pike’s story. For any audiobook lovers out there, you’ll be pleased to know that the narrator Laura Knight Keating did a fantastic job bringing the book to life with her performance in the nearly 9-hour audiobook production. 

Overall, this was a fantastic novel and I would highly recommend it to those who enjoy a contemporary romance tale filled with paranormal and fantasy elements.

About the Book
When eighteen-year-old witch Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn't unleashed on the world.

Iris Gray knows witches aren't welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches' Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they're keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.

Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she's about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.

New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches' Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.

About the Author

Rachel Griffin writes young adult novels inspired by the magic of the world around her. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Nature of Witches and the forthcoming Wild is the Witch, releasing from Sourcebooks Fire in summer 2022.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Rachel has a deep love of nature, from the mountains to the ocean and all the towering evergreens in between. She adores moody skies and thunderstorms, and hopes more vampires settle down in her beloved state of Washington.

On her path to writing novels, Rachel graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science in diagnostic ultrasound. She worked in healthcare for five years and taught ultrasound at her alma mater before making the switch to a small startup. She has been mentoring in Pitch Wars since 2017 and now writes full-time from her home in the Seattle area.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her wandering the PNW, reading by the fire, or drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea. She lives with her husband, small dog, and growing collection of houseplants.

Rachel is represented by Elana Roth Parker of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @TimesNewRachel.

Rachel Griffin Author Photo Credit: Dawndra Budd

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